Learning Spaces

Dan Comins, instructional designer at Academic Technology Services, attended the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) conference last month in Seattle. Then, at the November DOLCE meeting, Dan shared what he learned about learning spaces: whether digital or physical, environment central to how someone learns.

Dan began his DOLCE presentation by handing out a piece of paper to each of us and instructing us to draw our ideal learning space for our class. No one drew a large lecture hall. Instead, we drew moveable tables and multiple presentation screen locations. We wanted a space that included natural light, room for student collaboration, and room for the instructor to walk around.

Then, Dan explained how, at the University of Iowa, they have round tables for students, a podium or desk in the center for the instructor, and a central screen at the front. Each table is equipped with a LCD monitor that students can plug their devises into — this allows them to share what they are looking at on their own screen with fellow students. While this set-up would not be suitable for a lecture because some students would always have their backs to the professor, this learning space is ideal for a hybrid course where lecture is happening online and physical class meetings are all about discussion.

What is your ideal learning space? How can you imagine converting the spaces at UC Davis so that they are closer to that ideal? These questions are important, especially in light of the 2020 initiative. As we grow our student body, we will need new buildings and new learning spaces; now is the time to consider what types of spaces are appropriate for the kind of teaching and learning we want to foster.

Post Author: Mary Stewart

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